Happy Wednesday parents!
I'm one day late because Christy and I got to go to a conference on homosexuality in the church yesterday! If that something you would like to hear about, I would love to tell you!
On Sunday evening, we finished our talk on Samson. He still stands out to me as one of the most relatable Biblical characters. He clearly loves God and God is using him, but holy cats does the guy make a lot of mistakes. Every time the Philistines make him angry he does something progressively crazier. Try to kill me again? I'll just haul your gates 40 miles away. Steal my wife? 300 flaming foxes incoming! He just seems like a so-so guy that God uses to great effect, and there is a strange kind of comfort in that. I still sin, you still sin, and Samson DEFINITELY was a sinner, but that doesn't stop God from using us for His plans. That's pretty cool.
I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving! See you this Sunday!
Good morning parents!
This past Sunday I made your children sit through a meeting with some exalting team members as they met with people from the listening across generations class. The hope was to get your students involved with the conversation about the future of worship here at FRCZ. We want them to feel like they have meaningful input and belong at the table (because they do!)
Impact was a little strange as well. We moved away from talking about predestination and went back to breaking down OT stories that have important truths for us to learn. This week, we were going to go through the entire story of Samson, except we got a little hung up. We pray at the beginning of every teaching time on Sunday nights. I usually ask for prayer requests, write them on my phone, and then ask people to pray for each one. This week, we had someone with a Grandma in the hospital and when I asked for someone to pray, nobody volunteered. This is a little out of character for us, especially because we all were familiar with all the people in the room.
Normally, this would just result in me praying for the unclaimed requests, but I felt like we needed to address the stigma surrounding prayer. Why don't our kids feel comfortable praying corporately? Is it a fear of shame? A lack of the right vocabulary? When I asked them, it seemed to be a combination of not doing it often, and fearing that they wouldn't say something "right." I then proceeded to push them a little bit, asking if they were praying outside of youth group and church settings, and I was met with a lot of sheepish faces. I reminded them that they have a direct link to the God of the universe, who love then and WANTS to hear from them. Prayer is a gift! It shouldn't be scary! Then again, I was probably scared of how "plain" my prayers sounded when I was in high school as well.
So my challenge for you as parents is this: pray with your kids. Pray with them out loud, without choosing the overly Christian jargon that we tend to associate with "good" prayers. Affirm them if they are willing to pray with you, and encourage them to pray privately. We have the opportunity to live in relationship with Jesus Christ, and a relationship without communication will surely suffer!
By now I had dug myself into a weird hole as a youth pastor, and I needed to lighten the mood a bit, so we began talking about Samson. His story is fascinating. There are so many things he does that make negative sense, but God blesses him nonetheless. We got as far as him killing 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey, but there is still a large portion of the story to go. We are going to pick that up this coming Sunday and hopefully talk about some things that we are thankful for :)
As usual, thanks for taking the time to read up on what we're talking about! You are loved and appreciated!
This past Sunday, we officially finished our Listening across Generations class. It feels like just a few weeks ago that we were tossing that idea around and wondering if something like that would be received well. By the grace of God, it went VERY well. We averaged about 65 attenders who were interested in getting to know our youth better and were willing to listen and share with them. I couldn't be happier with the way that our church rallied around that class. The conversations I have had surrounding it have been nothing short of electrifying, and I truly believe that this could be the start of a "ground-up" change in the way we interact across generations. God is good :)
Impact was a continuation of last weeks harder questions, once again touching on predestination and the problem of sin and God's culpability in it. I often find that the answers in those situations are less satisfactory than I would like, but we continue to talk them through. Knowing that God is good isn't enough, so we needed to use an analogy. If we are fish all swimming down a stream to destruction, He is like a man who is grabbing us and tossing us into a stream that leads to eternal life. The idea that God would choose some fish and not others has been a difficult one to process. Is God responsible for allowing the fish to do what they would naturally do? Surely not, but something still feels "off" to us. So then we just barely scratched the surface of how it feels to have a perspective that places God outside of time and trusts His goodness fully. It was some pretty heavy stuff for a Sunday night, but we had some unbelievers super engaged again.
Next week we will return to talking about OT stories in a different light, hopefully in a way that is a little more gentle this time :)
Thanks for stopping by to check in! Have a great week!
This past Sunday we wrapped up the second to last chapter of our Growing Young class, and it went awesome. I could not be more encouraged by the turnout and the support we have seen in that class. We talked about being good neighbors this week, and how we can show love to our community without giving up on our convictions. We had some insightful discussion about how we as a church treat "hot button" issues in our culture. We talked about things like homosexuality and abortion and how we can love people without condoning behavior. Next week we will have members of the exalting team joining us to talk about what worship really is, regardless of preference. If you have been able to attend, thank you for all your support in making that a positive experience for our kids!
IMPACT was a healthy return to our norm. We brought up some very hard questions and had students thinking about why our lesson three weeks ago affected us so strongly. We talked about things like perspective and how we as created beings don't inherently deserve anything, touched on predestination, and even got into the problem of suffering. I'm sure that this was the first of many long weeks discussing some serious theology in that time slot. Initially I was hesitant to do that because Sunday nights are designed to be accessible to students who may not have existing or developed faith. This past week though, one of those students was very involved in the conversation and I think that this may be interesting for believers and unbelievers alike. As always, if you would like to be a fly on the wall sometime, we would love to have you!
I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week!
I'm Noah. I do High School things. Expect this page to update every Tuesday morning!